Spring And Summer 2018: 15 Movies I Can't Wait To See

By Patrick Gibbs

The winter season is ending at last, and as the sun comes out and casts a warm glow over nature, thoughts turn to outdoor fun. Unless you're a film critic and know full well that you're going to be spending a huge chunk of the coming months in a darkened cinema. If I couldn't find 12 movies that I was excited to see, I'd be in the wrong line of work, but what makes me different from the average movie goer is 1. I get to see all of them, and 2. I have to see all of them. If every one of the films on the list is completely satisfying and worth spending your hard earned money on, that will be pretty extraoridnairy, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least half of them live up to their potential, but (assuming my opinion means anything at all), you can visit us here to find out before you  spend too much on those tickets.

1. READY PLAYER ONE


As a writer for a for this site, it's a no brainer that I'm going to choose Ready Player One as my most anticipated movie. Any Spielberg directed film is an event, but I truly expect this to be his most jaw dropping and thrilling blockbuster since Jurassic Park. I'm a huge fan of Minority Report and consider it a classic, but it was much more of dark, neo noir drama than I expected it to be. That made a truly great film, but it wasn't a total immersion journey to a place where dreams are made. Ernest Cline's novel is a delightful (if highly self indulgent) celebration of pop culure nostalgia, but I genuinely expect Spielberg's film to be better than the novel. It feels like he's really got his ful mojo flowing for this one, and even those who felt that Jurassic Park didn't capture important elements of Michael Chrichton's novel have to agree that it gave us an experience like no other we'd ever had on film, and at the risk of being disappointed, I'm fully banking on Spielberg to once again take me away to somewhere truly magical.


2.  THE INCREDIBLES 2
 

I was quite wary of this one at first: Monsters, Inc. was one of my all time favorite Pixar films, and while Monsters University was cute and fun, it was totally lacking in the emotional hook of the original. But while Pixar's sequel emphasis has been hit and miss, the presence of Brad Bird and everything about the trailers has me believing this sequel to what is still for my money the best superhero fim ever made is going to be a welcome addition to the family, and aftet ten years of Marvel Studios taking over the world, there is a whole new level of super hero worship to play off of here. The good? I'm predicting one of the great sequels of all time here. The bad? It literally has to be just to be good enough justify it's own existence.


3ISLE OF DOGS

 
If I could live in a perpertual loop of experiencing any one movie for the firs timet, it may well be Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox. If this even succeeds at giving me half as much joy as that film did, then I'm good.

4. SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY



Yes, this movie comes with a lot of baggage, and there is reason to be nervous. But there's also a lot of reason to be excited. Ron Howard was my first choice to step into the pilot's seat after the sacking of Lord and Miller, even before his name had come up anywhere online. The combination of his background with George Lucas, his flawless direction of the best space adventure of all time (Apollo 13), and the way he captured the world of the hotshot racer in the wildly underrated Rush, his name popped into my head instantly, and I really have no doubts about how well he'll do. The Force and The Fonz are with him. He's given us some great Soloesque characters, from Val Kilmer's Madmartigan to Tom Cruise's hotheaded Joseph Donnelly (who had a lot of characteristics I imagine in a young Han, minus the bad accent) to Kevin Bacon's Jack Swigert. No, none of these characters are exactly Han Solo. but none of them were supposed to be. And if there is any question about whether Opie understands the character, there should be none about whether Larry Kasdan does. Yes, the Alden Ehrenriech questionmark is still there, and my prediction is that anyone dead set on seeing a pitch perfect young Harrison Ford is not going to be appeased. But some of the talk out there is flat out ridiculous: we know this kid can act, stop even questioning that. Let's give him a chance to do so before we judge him. We need to keep Young Indy in mind and except that this isn't going to be Han as we know him, but the kid that became Han as we know him. And if this thing bounces right through a star and burns up, I'll be the first to admit it. But for now, I'm going to have faith.


   5.  CHRISTOPHER ROBIN


I'm a huge fan of Winnie The Pooh, being introduced to it by Disney and then falling in love with A.A. Milne's original stories much later when I adapted and directed a stage version. To me, nothing encapsulates the joy, the wonder and care free nature of childhood more  than the story of Christopher Robin and his friends, and I still have all of my teasured stuffed animals. The desire to literally return to the very detaliled world where they reigned supreme and I was whatever I wanted to be is the ultimate dream, and while Marc Forster failed spectacularly at Bond, Finding Neverland was a love letter to childhood and the power of imagination.  Yes, the premise here does feel a lot like Ted for a family audience, but it should be pointed out that Ted was basically Drop Dead Fred with a Teddy Bear. Regardless, neither one of them was about the world of Winnie The Pooh. This could be bad, yes, but it could also be truly great.

6. SWEET COUNTRY


I can't remember the last time a trailer came out of the blue and grabbed me like this one did, and as an indie filmmaker who has been trying to get a labor of love western feature off the ground for a number of years now, I really, really know and have a love for the genre and get excited when it looks like someone is doing something interestignwith it. Sam (Hamilton Morris)  is a middle-aged Aboriginal farmer in the outback of Australia's Northern  Territory. He is sent by a preacher to help a bitter war veteran named Harry (Ewen Leslie) to help  renovate the latter's cattle yards. Sam's relationship with Harry quickly deteriorates, resulting in a  fight ending with Sam killing Harry in self-defense. For the murder of a white man, Sam is now on the run from the law with his wife across the deadly outback. A manhunt for the farmer is on, led by Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown), but questions of justice start to surface among the community as the true details of the murder come to light. And yes, that is Sam Neill, which is another big reason to be excited. Maybe my expectations for this one are too high, and maybe I am setting myself up to be let down, but it's nice to have one film to look forward to this this summer that isn't an effects spectacle but still  promises to take me somewhere.


 7.  JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM


I know that Jurassic World has become one of the top "If it's so good, how come everybody liked it?" movies in recent years, and I'll even admit that some of the people who hate it actually felt that way when it came out, not just when it became cool to do or when Colin Trevorrow fell from grace, between the negative reactions to The Book of Henry and his firing from Star Wars. I still believe that Trevorrow is a great talent (Safety Not Guaranteed is one of my all time favorite indie films) has a creative vision for the franchise and has brought back a sense of excitement that had been misisng since the first film. I also believe that J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls) is a better director than Trevorrow, and can potentially bring a sense of intensity and human drama to Jurassic that even Spielberg never quite achieved. That last point may be setting myself up for another Lost World sized let down (the most complicated relationship I've ever had with a Spielberg film, genuinely hating it the first time I saw and having it grow on me on repeat viewing to the point where I vigorously defend about a third of the film, am ambinvalent on another third and still to this day roll my eyes at the rest.). The only thing that I know for certain in that even if this is a total dud I'm going to see it at least twice.


    8. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and ANT MAN AND THE WASP


As a critic, it's hard not to take Marvel Studios for granted when it comes to antiicipation precisely because they tend to be so consistant. it's hard to get too worked up about a new one when they come out with such frequency, but they continue to deliver every single time, and if you are on a tight entertaining budget, the latest Marvel release is the most reliable way to spend your moviegoing money. After ten years of shaking up the movie industry and of trying to convice those of who are not well versed in the comics that Thanos is a villain to be very excited about (without ever really showing us why), there is a certain amount of pressure on this one to be a spectaular crescendo. There is the potetnial concerm that no movie can sustain this many characters, but we have Ant Man and The Wasp for a smaller, more character oriented story (and after severly doubting the first Ant Man and being proven delightfully  wrong, I'm not making that mistake again.) Infinity War is about scale and intensity, and about creating the feel of a world (or a universe) at war. The worst case scenario is that this is Justice League to Black Panther's Wonder Woman (and frankly, I enjoyed Justice League), but given the absence of production troubles, a clear and proven vision from producer Kevin Feige and the hot streak that directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been on, the chances that we are looking at a dud here are pretty slim. In truth, unless there is something big we don't know about, Infinity War is probably the surest bet of the summer.

9. WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

I grew up on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and with a 2 yeard nephew whose first favorite show is Daniel Tiger and a world where Deadpool and Donald Trump are our ideals on how to treat each other, the gentle heroism of Fred Rogers is back on my mind. Won't You Be My Nieghbor? is a documentary covering the  decades-spanning career of the children's show pioneer from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville. If there's anyone that exemplifies the world we need right now, it's Rogers, and this is the first of two big films about him, the second being You Are My Friend, starring Tom Hanks.


10. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT


I'm a sucker for a good spy film, and Rogue Nation was the best film of the franchise, and Christopher McQuarrie seems hell bent on making his entires in the series extraordinairy. And if that doesn't mean anything to you, this film has the distinction of featuring the mos texpensive mustache in movie history.


11. PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING



If Guillermo Del Toro was in the director's chair again, this one would be up there toward the very top. I have a huge personal attachment to the 2013 original, easily the most unabashedly silly fun of any movie in a summer full of mixed bags and full scale even debacles, and while I don't feel a need for a sequel, I don't object to one, either. But an unproven director plus the presence of Scott Eastwood makes me more than a bit nervous, and I know I could be setting myself up to have my heart broken by this movie. I'm trying to keep my hopes high and my expectations low.


 12.  TULLY

Jason Reitman is simply too good a director not to have a comeback, and I give Diablo Cody a lot of credit for being one of the few people out there even more aware of (and vocal about) what an utter disaster Jennifer's Body was than I am. Everything about this film, which tells the story of a mother of three and her relationship with her nanny, shouts out "we're bringing our A game to this one,"right down to Charlize Theron once again being one of the few starlets out there who seems to be able to take the leading man's risk of setting out to look less than gorgeous in a role. And if none of that is enough, there's the fact that I would frankly get excited about watching Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Blade Runner 2049  and the upcoming Terminator: We Can't Afford To Suck This Time)  read from the phone book (do they still make phonebooks?) If this one underwelms, I might feel stupid about putting it on this list, but I know I am not the only one rooting for this team to make something special again..

13. RAMPAGE


I'm not a video game person as a general rule, but there is one game that is sacred to me, and my brother and I have treasured memories of hanging out in the arcade as teens and smashing buildings to smithereens. I am finally at a point where I can look forward to a Dwayne Johnson movie without feeling embarrassed, and as stupid a movie as San Andreas was, in 3D an DOX it was one  hell of a ride.

14. THE EQUALIZER 2


The first film was better than it had any right to be, and there's no question that the lion's share of the credit goes to Denzel Washington, but director Antoine Fuqua and writer Richard Wenk did exemplary work, and all three are back for this follow up. That's enough to have me really stoked. The possible hurdle to overcome is Die Hard syndrome: the intense violence of the original was one thing when the situaiuon came to Robert McCall, but will it feel acceptable (within the world of the movies) with him going after it? We'll find out in July.

15. OCEAN'S 8
     
 
Much like Pacific Rim: Uprising, this one could really go either way. The difference here is the rather dubious distiniction that if this fails, it's not really going to take any more luster off of the original than the other largley premise free two sequels did. But Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are enough reason for me really want it to succeed, and when you add Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulsen and Anne Hathaway, I am so there. Still, as good as he is, I cannot picture Gary Ross pulling off hip, and making this feel fresh is a challenge.



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